Finalists revealed for The National Chef of the Year 2020

National Chef of the Year finalists
Heat winners for The National Chef of the Year
19/06/2019 - 08:46
After a closely fought four rounds of heats, the finalists in the running to be crowned The National Chef of the Year have been announced by the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Marc Billings, sous chef at Prestwold Hall, impressed in the first heat at Sheffield College on 11 June where he went through to the final. The heat winners from London were Fraser Bruce, head chef at The Halsetown Inn, Mehdi Lahmadi, junior sous chef at Coworth Park Hotel and Steve Groves, head chef from Roux at Parliament Square.

The final six places were awarded to those with the highest scores across the four heats. At yesterday’s award announcement these spots were given to:

  1. Nick Edgar, head chef at The Ryebeck Hotel
  2. Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle
  3. Ben Boeynaems, head chef at The Zetter Hotel
  4. Harry Kirkpatrick, sous chef at Trinity Restaurant
  5. Karl O’Dell, head chef at Texture London
  6. Nick Smith, head chef at Vacherin

Oliver Geyer, culinary exec and head chef at Cuisine Solutions was named as the first reserve for the final.  

Gary Jones, executive chef from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons said: “We’ve seen some really innovative dishes this year and a huge variety in the methods and styles of cooking. I think one of the main reasons for this is the tweak we made to the brief where one element could be cooked in advance. Chefs have truly risen to this challenge, with some incredible flavours being served, as it’s a more familiar way of cooking for them.

“For the ten finalists, my advice is don’t waste this opportunity, put everything you’ve got into it as only one chef will walk away as the winner. The final will be a huge learning curve in each chef’s personal development and I wish them all the best of luck.”

Organiser of the competition and vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy added: “With just over one hundred entries in this year’s competition it’s exciting for us to discover the new top ten in the running for the 2020 title. We’ve also got ten talented chefs lined up to be pushed into the limelight in the young chef competition having earned their place either through a heat or by being a leading competition winner.

“As the biggest culinary challenge in the UK, these competitions continue to go from strength to strength providing new and exciting opportunities. Those who follow Kuba Winkowski will have seen the incredible year he is having as the title holder. This year’s finalists will have to impress an inspiring list of judges including Clare Smyth, Jonny Lake, Claude Bosi, Philip Howard and Chantelle Nicholson.”

The final ten chefs will compete to become The National Chef of the Year on 1 October 2019 at The Restaurant show. 

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